Clinical School (Royal Melbourne Hospital) - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 28
A good resource for parents, but will clinicians use it?: Evaluation of a resource for paediatric end-of-life decision making
BACKGROUND: Communication with parents about end-of-life care and decisions is a difficult and sensitive process. The objective of the present study was to ascertain clinicians' views on the acceptability and usefulness of a handbook and web-based resource (Caring Decisions) that was designed as an aid for parents facing end-of-life decisions for their child. METHODS: Qualitative interviews were conducted with a range of health professionals who provide care to children facing life-limiting conditions. RESULTS: Data analysis confirmed the acceptability and usefulness of the resource. Two major themes were revealed: 1. Family empowerment, with sub-themes Giving words and clarity, Conversation starter, 'I'm not alone in this', and A resource to take away, highlighted how the resource filled a gap by supporting and enabling families in a multitude of ways; 2. Not just for families, with sub-themes A guide for staff, When to give the resource?, How to give the resource and Who should give the resource?, explored the significant finding that participants viewed the resource as a valuable tool for themselves, but its presence also brought into relief potential gaps in communication processes around end-of-life care. CONCLUSION: The interview data indicated the positive reception and clear value and need for this type of resource. However, it is likely that successful resource uptake will be contingent on discussion and planning around dissemination and use within the health care team.
A Tablet-Based Retinal Function Test in Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration Eyes and At-Risk Fellow Eye
(ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2018-03-01)
Purpose: To determine the feasibility of a tablet-based application to detect changes in retinal sensitivity and correlations with underlying pathology in neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) eyes undergoing treatment and in at-risk fellow eyes. Method: Participants with nAMD in at least one eye were recruited, examined, and imaged using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Retinal sensitivity was measured within the central 5° at 12 locations using a customized test delivered on an iPad. Test points were superimposed on SD-OCT locations to investigate structure/function relationships. Results: Included in the study were 53 nAMD eyes and 21 at-risk fellow eyes. In nAMD eyes, the mean retinal sensitivity was 24.1 ± 1.8 dB with reduced retinal sensitivity associated with the presence of atrophy (P < 0.01), retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) disruption (P < 0.01), and absent ellipsoid zone (EZ) (P < 0.01), but not with the presence of subretinal fluid (P = 0.94) nor intraretinal fluid (P = 0.52). In at-risk eyes, the average retinal sensitivity was 28.8 ± 0.6 dB, with reduced sensitivity significantly associated with the presence of drusen, atrophy, RPE disruption, and absent EZ (P < 0.01). Conclusion: The tablet-based test of retinal sensitivity was able to be performed by an elderly cohort with nAMD. The ability to correlate differences in sensitivity with pathology is encouraging when considering using the tablet devices as a home monitoring tool with remote surveillance. Dual pathology often present with retinal fluid confounded our ability to correlate fluid with sensitivity. Translational Relevance: These findings highlight the potential of tablet-based devices in performing visual function measures as a home monitoring tool with remote surveillance for the earlier detection of nAMD.
Accuracy and safety of ward based pleural ultrasound in the Australian healthcare system
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Ultrasound has been shown to improve the accuracy and safety of pleural procedures. Studies to date have been performed in large, specialized units, where pleural procedures are performed by a small number of highly specialized physicians. There are no studies examining the safety and accuracy of ultrasound in the Australian healthcare system where procedures are performed by junior doctors with a high staff turnover. METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of the ultrasound database in the Respiratory Department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to determine accuracy and complications associated pleural procedures. RESULTS: A total of 357 ultrasounds were performed between October 2010 and June 2013. Accuracy of pleural procedures was 350 of 356 (98.3%). Aspiration of pleural fluid was successful in 121 of 126 (96%) of patients. Two (0.9%) patients required chest tube insertion for management of pneumothorax. There were no recorded pleural infections, haemorrhage or viscera puncture. CONCLUSION: Ward-based ultrasound for pleural procedures is safe and accurate when performed by appropriately trained and supported junior medical officers. Our findings support this model of pleural service care in the Australian healthcare system.
Barriers and strategies to achieve a cure for HIV
(ELSEVIER INC, 2018-06-01)
9 years since the report of a cure for HIV after C-C chemokine receptor type 5 Δ32 stem cell transplantation, no other case of HIV cure has been reported, despite much research. However, substantial progress has been made in understanding the biology of the latent HIV reservoir, and in measuring the amount of virus that persists after antiretroviral therapy (ART) with increasingly sophisticated approaches. This knowledge is being translated into a long pipeline of clinical trials seeking to reduce viral persistence in participants on suppressive treatment and ultimately to allow safe cessation of ART. In this Review, we discuss the main barriers preventing the development of an HIV cure, methods used to measure HIV persistence in individuals on ART, clinical strategies that aim to cure HIV, and future directions for studies in the field of HIV cure research.
Common and Low Frequency Variants in MERTK Are Independently Associated with Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility with Discordant Association Dependent upon HLA-DRB1*15:01 Status
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2016-03-01)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. The risk of developing MS is strongly influenced by genetic predisposition, and over 100 loci have been established as associated with susceptibility. However, the biologically relevant variants underlying disease risk have not been defined for the vast majority of these loci, limiting the power of these genetic studies to define new avenues of research for the development of MS therapeutics. It is therefore crucial that candidate MS susceptibility loci are carefully investigated to identify the biological mechanism linking genetic polymorphism at a given gene to the increased chance of developing MS. MERTK has been established as an MS susceptibility gene and is part of a family of receptor tyrosine kinases known to be involved in the pathogenesis of demyelinating disease. In this study we have refined the association of MERTK with MS risk to independent signals from both common and low frequency variants. One of the associated variants was also found to be linked with increased expression of MERTK in monocytes and higher expression of MERTK was associated with either increased or decreased risk of developing MS, dependent upon HLA-DRB1*15:01 status. This discordant association potentially extended beyond MS susceptibility to alterations in disease course in established MS. This study provides clear evidence that distinct polymorphisms within MERTK are associated with MS susceptibility, one of which has the potential to alter MERTK transcription, which in turn can alter both susceptibility and disease course in MS patients.
Diagnosis of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome in women with chronic pelvic pain: a prospective observational study
(SPRINGER LONDON LTD, 2012-10-01)
INTRODUCTION AND HYPOTHESIS: This study assesses the prevalence of interstitial cystitis (IC)/bladder pain syndrome (BPS) in women with chronic pelvic pain (CPP). METHODS: This was a prospective study of 150 women undergoing laparoscopy as investigation for CPP in an Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain unit. Preoperative questionnaires [demographic details, pelvic pain symptoms, the Pelvic Pain and Urgency/Frequency (PUF) and O'Leary-Sant (OLS) Symptom and Problem Index scores] were completed, and concurrent standardized cystoscopy with hydrodistention performed at laparoscopy. The primary outcome measures the proportion of IC in this group, defined by presence of glomerulations with CPP and urinary symptoms (urinary frequency, nocturia, urgency). The secondary outcome measures the proportion of BPS [defined by the European Society of the Study of Interstitial Cystitis (ESSIC)]. RESULTS: IC was diagnosed in 48/150 (32%) individuals, and 80/150 (53%) had BPS. There were no significant differences in symptomatology or questionnaire results between groups with and without IC. Women with BPS had higher PUF (17.2 vs 12.9, p < 0.001), OLS Symptom (8.2 vs 6.0, p = 0.001) and Problem (7.5 vs 4.2, p < 0.001) scores and more severe pain symptoms. Visually proven endometriosis was seen in 90/150 (60%), and 27/150 (18%) had both endometriosis and IC. Of the 80 women with BPS, 45/80 (60%) had endometriosis. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of IC/BPS varies depending on the definition used. This study showed IC in 32% of women with CPP based on symptoms and presence of glomerulations. BPS as defined by ESSIC was diagnosed in 53%. History and questionnaires did not correlate with positive cystoscopic findings.
e Analysis of Platelet-Rich Plasma Extraction Variations in Platelet and Blood Components Between 4 Common Commercial Kits
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2017-01-01)
BACKGROUND: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been extensively used as a treatment in tissue healing in tendinopathy, muscle injury, and osteoarthritis. However, there is variation in methods of extraction, and this produces different types of PRP. PURPOSE: To determine the composition of PRP obtained from 4 commercial separation kits, which would allow assessment of current classification systems used in cross-study comparisons. STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study. METHODS: Three normal adults each donated 181 mL of whole blood, some of which served as a control and the remainder of which was processed through 4 PRP separation kits: GPS III (Biomet Biologics), Smart-Prep2 (Harvest Terumo), Magellan (Arteriocyte Medical Systems), and ACP (Device Technologies). The resultant PRP was tested for platelet count, red blood cell count, and white blood cell count, including differential in a commercial pathology laboratory. Glucose and pH measurements were obtained from a blood gas autoanalyzer machine. RESULTS: Three kits taking samples from the "buffy coat layer" were found to have greater concentrations of platelets (3-6 times baseline), while 1 kit taking samples from plasma was found to have platelet concentrations of only 1.5 times baseline. The same 3 kits produced an increased concentration of white blood cells (3-6 times baseline); these consisted of neutrophils, leukocytes, and monocytes. This represents high concentrations of platelets and white blood cells. A small drop in pH was thought to relate to the citrate used in the sample preparation. Interestingly, an unexpected increase in glucose concentrations, with 3 to 6 times greater than baseline levels, was found in all samples. CONCLUSION: This study reveals the variation of blood components, including platelets, red blood cells, leukocytes, pH, and glucose in PRP extractions. The high concentrations of cells are important, as the white blood cell count in PRP samples has frequently been ignored, being considered insignificant. The lack of standardization of PRP preparation for clinical use has contributed at least in part to the varying clinical efficacy in PRP use. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The variation of platelet and other blood component concentrations between commercial PRP kits may affect clinical treatment outcomes. There is a need for standardization of PRP for clinical use.
Early acid-base and blood pressure effects of continuous renal replacement therapy intensity in patients with metabolic acidosis
PURPOSE: In acute kidney injury patients, metabolic acidosis is common. Its severity, duration, and associated changes in mean arterial pressure (MAP) and vasopressor therapy may be affected by the intensity of continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). We aimed to compare key aspects of acidosis and MAP and vasopressor therapy in patients treated with two different CRRT intensities. METHODS: We studied a nested cohort of 115 patients from two tertiary intensive care units (ICUs) within a large multicenter randomized controlled trial treated with lower intensity (LI) or higher intensity (HI) CRRT. RESULTS: Levels of metabolic acidosis at randomization were similar [base excess (BE) of -8 ± 8 vs. -8 ± 7 mEq/l; p = 0.76]. Speed of BE correction did not differ between the two groups. However, the HI group had a greater increase in MAP from baseline to 24 h (7 ± 3 vs. 0 ± 3 mmHg; p < 0.01) and a greater decrease in norepinephrine dose (from 12.5 to 3.5 vs. 5 to 2.5 μg/min; p < 0.05). The correlation (r) coefficients between absolute change in MAP and norepinephrine (NE) dose versus change in BE were 0.05 and -0.37, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, LI and HI CRRT have similar acid-base effects in patients with acidosis. However, HI was associated with greater improvements in MAP and vasopressor requirements (clinical trial no. NCT00221013).
Epilepsy, hippocampal sclerosis and febrile seizures linked by common genetic variation around SCN1A
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2013-10-01)
Epilepsy comprises several syndromes, amongst the most common being mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis. Seizures in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis are typically drug-resistant, and mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis is frequently associated with important co-morbidities, mandating the search for better understanding and treatment. The cause of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis is unknown, but there is an association with childhood febrile seizures. Several rarer epilepsies featuring febrile seizures are caused by mutations in SCN1A, which encodes a brain-expressed sodium channel subunit targeted by many anti-epileptic drugs. We undertook a genome-wide association study in 1018 people with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis and 7552 control subjects, with validation in an independent sample set comprising 959 people with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis and 3591 control subjects. To dissect out variants related to a history of febrile seizures, we tested cases with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis with (overall n = 757) and without (overall n = 803) a history of febrile seizures. Meta-analysis revealed a genome-wide significant association for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis with febrile seizures at the sodium channel gene cluster on chromosome 2q24.3 [rs7587026, within an intron of the SCN1A gene, P = 3.36 × 10(-9), odds ratio (A) = 1.42, 95% confidence interval: 1.26-1.59]. In a cohort of 172 individuals with febrile seizures, who did not develop epilepsy during prospective follow-up to age 13 years, and 6456 controls, no association was found for rs7587026 and febrile seizures. These findings suggest SCN1A involvement in a common epilepsy syndrome, give new direction to biological understanding of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis with febrile seizures, and open avenues for investigation of prognostic factors and possible prevention of epilepsy in some children with febrile seizures.
Evaluation of the transferability of survival calculators for stage II/III colon cancer across healthcare systems
Adjuvant! Online Inc (A!O), the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), MD Anderson (MDA) and Mayo Clinic (MC) provide calculators to predict survival probabilities for patients with resected early-stage colon cancer, trained on data from United States (US) patient cohorts or patients enrolled in international clinical trials. Limited data exist on the transferability of calculators across healthcare systems. Calculator transferability to Australian community practice was evaluated for 1,401 stage II/III patients. Calibration and discrimination were assessed for overall (OS), cancer-specific (CSS) or recurrence-free survival (RFS). The US patient cohort-based calculators, A!O, MSKCC and MDA, significantly overestimated risks of recurrence and death in Australian patients, with 5-year OS, CSS and RFS prediction differences of -6.5% to -9.9%, -9.1% to -14.4% and - 3.8% to -6.8%, respectively (p < 0.001). Significant heterogeneity in calibration was observed for subgroups by tumor stage and treatment, age, gender, tumor location, ECOG and ASA score. Calibration appeared acceptable for the clinical trial patient-based MC calculator, but restricted tool applicability (stage III patients, ≥12 examined lymph nodes, receiving adjuvant treatment) limited the sample size. Compared to AJCC 7th edition tumor staging, calculators showed improved discrimination for OS, but no improvement for CSS and RFS. In conclusion, deficiencies in calibration limited transferability of US patient cohort-based survival calculators for early-stage colon cancer to the setting of Australian community practice. Our results demonstrate the utility for multi-feature survival calculators to improve OS predictions but highlight the importance for performance assessment of tools prior to implementation in an external health care setting.
Genes implicated in multiple sclerosis pathogenesis from consilience of genotyping and expression profiles in relapse and remission
BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Although the pathogenesis of MS remains unknown, it is widely regarded as an autoimmune disease mediated by T-lymphocytes directed against myelin proteins and/or other oligodendrocyte epitopes. METHODS: In this study we investigated the gene expression profiles of peripheral blood cells from patients with RRMS during the relapse and the remission phases utilizing gene microarray technology. Dysregulated genes encoded in regions associated with MS susceptibility from genomic screens or previous transcriptomic studies were identified. The proximal promoter region polymorphisms of two genes were tested for association with disease and expression level. RESULTS: Distinct sets of dysregulated genes during the relapse and remission phases were identified including genes involved in apoptosis and inflammation. Three of these dysregulated genes have been previously implicated with MS susceptibility in genomic screens: TGFbeta1, CD58 and DBC1. TGFbeta1 has one common SNP in the proximal promoter: -508 T>C (rs1800469). Genotyping two Australian trio sets (total 620 families) found a trend for over-transmission of the T allele in MS in females (p < 0.13). Upregulation of CD58 and DBC1 in remission is consistent with their putative roles in promoting regulatory T cells and reducing cell proliferation, respectively. A fourth gene, ALOX5, is consistently found over-expressed in MS. Two common genetic variants were confirmed in the ALOX5 putative promoter: -557 T>C (rs12762303) and a 6 bp tandem repeat polymorphism (GGGCGG) between position -147 and -176; but no evidence for transmission distortion found. CONCLUSION: The dysregulation of these genes tags their metabolic pathways for further investigation for potential therapeutic intervention.
Increased serum kallistatin levels in type 1 diabetes patients with vascular complications.
(Publiverse Online S.R.L, 2010-09-22)
BACKGROUND: Kallistatin, a serpin widely produced throughout the body, has vasodilatory, anti-angiogenic, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. Effects of diabetes and its vascular complications on serum kallistatin levels are unknown. METHODS: Serum kallistatin was quantified by ELISA in a cross-sectional study of 116 Type 1 diabetic patients (including 50 with and 66 without complications) and 29 non-diabetic controls, and related to clinical status and measures of oxidative stress and inflammation. RESULTS: Kallistatin levels (mean(SD)) were increased in diabetic vs. control subjects (12.6(4.2) vs. 10.3(2.8) μg/ml, p = 0.007), and differed between diabetic patients with complications (13.4(4.9) μg/ml), complication-free patients (12.1(3.7) μg/ml), and controls; ANOVA, p = 0.007. Levels were higher in diabetic patients with complications vs. controls, p = 0.01, but did not differ between complication-free diabetic patients and controls, p > 0.05. On univariate analyses, in diabetes, kallistatin correlated with renal dysfunction (cystatin C, r = 0.28, p = 0.004; urinary albumin/creatinine, r = 0.34, p = 0.001; serum creatinine, r = 0.23, p = 0.01; serum urea, r = 0.33, p = 0.001; GFR, r = -0.25, p = 0.009), total cholesterol (r = 0.28, p = 0.004); LDL-cholesterol (r = 0.21, p = 0.03); gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) (r = 0.27, p = 0.04), and small artery elasticity, r = -0.23, p = 0.02, but not with HbA1c, other lipids, oxidative stress or inflammation. In diabetes, geometric mean (95%CI) kallistatin levels adjusted for covariates, including renal dysfunction, were higher in those with vs. without hypertension (13.6 (12.3-14.9) vs. 11.8 (10.5-13.0) μg/ml, p = 0.03). Statistically independent determinants of kallistatin levels in diabetes were age, serum urea, total cholesterol, SAE and GGT, adjusted r2 = 0.24, p < 0.00001. CONCLUSIONS: Serum kallistatin levels are increased in Type 1 diabetic patients with microvascular complications and with hypertension, and correlate with renal and vascular dysfunction.